Bruce Lehrmann settles defamation case with News Corp

Miklos Bolza |

Former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann will not receive any damages after settling his defamation case over News Corp’s coverage of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations.

The settlement was reached on Tuesday, and the Federal Court case dropped against News Life Media and national political editor Samantha Maiden.

Mr Lehrmann claimed two articles defamed him despite not being identified within the reports.

They remain online but include an updated editorial note added as part of the settlement.

“ notes that a criminal charge of sexual assault was brought against Mr Lehrmann and later dropped. does not suggest that he was guilty of that charge,” the note reads.

News has not made any apology or correction.

The media firm will not have to pay any damages to Mr Lehrmann under the settlement but has agreed to pay some of his legal costs. editor-in-chief Lisa Muxworthy said the broadcaster stood by its reports of how the allegations were dealt with by political leaders and institutions.

“We thank Ms Brittany Higgins for telling her story and for all that she has endured in making that choice to improve the system for complainants,” she said.

“We will continue to report on the general issues surrounding sexual assault allegations, our justice system and how to improve that system for men and women.” 

The law student’s defamation cases against Ten, journalist Lisa Wilkinson and the ABC over their reports of Ms Higgins’ allegations remain on foot.

Ms Higgins accused Mr Lehrmann of raping her inside the Parliament House office of then minister Linda Reynolds, who they both worked for in March 2019.

He denies the allegation, maintaining the pair never had any sexual interaction.

A criminal trial brought against Mr Lehrmann in the ACT Supreme Court was derailed in October because of juror misconduct. 

In December, the prosecutor dropped the charges due to impacts a second trial would have on Ms Higgins’ mental health.

Comment has been sought from Mr Lehrmann.